Hi, for those new here, I’m a romance and SFF writer who started her career writing about pop-culture and how it makes her feel. I do that particular thing a lot less than I used to, in part because of the success I’ve had with my fiction, and in part because of how female-type people on the Internet are treated when they write about pop-culture and/or their personal feelings. This site has languished as I’ve made that transition — and those boundaries.
In some ways, this is a shame (I have a lot of feelings about the operatic nature of The Assassination of Gianni Versace and what it says about queer life (and also Italian families!) that I’ve never written about, for example). In other ways, it’s freed me up to write about all sorts of things well beyond my own emotions and frustrations (which is basically what women who write personal essay generally get underpaid to pontificate about).
But now I’m back, and I have a new thing to write about. Mostly because I need to. What it will inform anyone else of or entertain them in regard to, I frankly have no damn idea.
Back in January, Erin and I were working on our novel The Opposite of Drowning (2019), and I made the mistake of sending her an Instagram clip posted by Baz Luhrmann of some random Canadian ice dancers performing to Moulin Rouge. If you followed the 2018 Olympics at all, you know, of course, that these ice dancers weren’t random, but were Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.
Erin and I found them incredibly distracting. And we procrastinated on The Opposite of Drowning by writing — and publishing — a whole other novel. After the Gold is a romance about a pair that wins Olympic gold and then has to figure out what to do about the rest of their lives. We assumed the project was merely us being self-indulgent. But it got more pre-orders than anything we’d ever written before. Even our award-winning royal romance. And then I, as the marketing brains behind this operation, told people that if we sold more than 250 copies before release day, Erin and I would learn to skate.
And now here we — and I guess you, dear reader — are.
For the last two months I’ve been going skating with friends on the weekends. This has meant dragging myself around the wall, anxiety attacks, and that time my partner fell down and fractured her ankle on her very first occasion on the ice. Despite all of this, I love it and would actually really like to be good at this thing (I have a long history of embarking on difficult and difficult for me endeavors and finally, eventually, getting pretty decent at those things — including fencing, horseback riding, and general aviation.) A few days ago, frustrated with rentals, I bought a pair of really expensive Riedell’s that fit amazingly and make me very happy.
Today, I had my first Learn to Skate lesson in which my main achievements were not crying and learning to march across the ice. This actually meant I was able to get on the ice during a public session without my friends and try to practice something correct I’d been taught. So I did that. Five whole laps before I decided my body and my mind needed a break.
In kindergarten (I was five, and the youngest of the class), Mrs. Nabokov (yes, that was really her name; no, I have no idea of any relation) called my mother to kick me out of ice skating lessons because I was too scared. Which, honestly, considering my parents wouldn’t let me climb jungle gyms in playground because I would “break my head open” should surprise no one.
Today, all I can think about is my fear that I’ll get kicked out of lessons again, because aside from those small achievements, I was too scared to do the thing you kinda have to do on day one, which is learn to fall. I just couldn’t make myself do it, and I don’t know how I ever am.
So welcome to my blog, which is, as it ever was, about my pop culture obsessions. Now they just come with knives strapped to my feet. I’m going to write about this in public because I enjoy doing so, because it is a way in which I defuse my fear, and because it is a tool that helps me stay stubborn. Because the situation is this: I love this thing that I am both very bad at (totally okay) and super afraid of (way less than useful).
Consider this a training journal, although maybe one less about ice skating and more about someone just trying to be alive.